Lara Richerson

2020 STEP Ahead Honoree

Engineering Manager
Siemens Energy, Inc.

There is such satisfaction in creating the pathways to tangible products that would not exist without our efforts.

Lara is a passionate professional and proven problem solver. She has led the engineering team at Siemens’ Charlottesville facility through nine new product introductions in the last five years—a time when the facility transitioned to supporting large engine programs and yearly shipment volume increased by 700 percent. Lara was largely responsible for the success of the new products and the growth of the facility to meet customer demand, through such projects as insourcing manufacture of product support tooling. Lara put together the business case and then developed the capability to build the tooling in house, which provided significant cost savings, reduced tooling revision lead time and facilitated rapid engineering improvements.

Also a strong mentor to the young female engineers in her facility, Lara provides opportunities to lead high visibility, interdisciplinary projects and ensures that her mentees receive recognition for their successes. She also leads by example, teaching them how to be better project managers, better coworkers and better advocates for their customers. Many of the young production operators rely on her not only for advice but to have their voices heard by management. Her position and her open door policy have led to a corporate culture where employees feel comfortable bringing up issues that they otherwise might not have raised to management.

Lara has been a driving force in her facility’s volunteering efforts in the community. Most recently, team members have volunteered at the local food pantry and helped provide meals at a homeless shelter. Events like these have spurred many team members to take on other volunteer work on their own. Lara has also built strong relationships with area schools, providing hands-on manufacturing experience for local university students. Currently, she is hard at work on an apprenticeship program that will have Siemens workers taking part in manufacturing technology courses at a local community college.